Seriously, I am so patient. I love sitting in the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru that is 100 cars long. I love patiently sitting in my car waiting for my people to get all their stuff together and get in the car. I love saying we are leaving at a certain time only to be delayed for some magical reason. I love stopping to smell the roses. I refuse to feel rushed or get flustered in an attempt to get something done quickly. I have no ill will towards someone who delays me because they are doing something so charmingly ineptly. Patiently sitting in traffic is one of my favorite pass times. Lines, waiting rooms and ill-made plans are also favorites. I am the most patient with my husband. I love the pace at which he moves, and the pace at which he makes decisions. Patience is my strong suit for sure. It is my default and my go to.
Oh wait, did I say patience, I meant hurrying. I am cracking myself up! Just in case you are reading this and don’t actually know me, I could barely type all that above without laughing hysterically. “Patient,” would not be a word used to describe me.
This weekend at church Pastor Doug taught on Ephesians 4: 1-6. Check it out:
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.
My friend Ashley was sitting behind me and as soon as Pastor Doug read this passage I turned to her and said “We should go, let’s go get breakfast!” I knew it would be one of those days in church when it feels like Pastor is talking directly to me and I wanted to escape with my friend who shares my affinity to avoid talking about words like “gentle, humble and patience.” Of course it is Jesus talking directly to me, not actually Pastor Doug. This is how God’s word works. It goes right to the heart and says “Oh, its Demo Day baby!”
You see in the passage above where it says “Always be humble and gentle.” I read this and feel the impossibility of this command. I didn’t use to. In my baby christian days I read stuff like this and was like, “Oh ok, I can do that.” I would be the most humble and gentle person you have ever seen for like 30 seconds, and then something would irritate me and all bets were off. I have realized by now when these little gems where being handed out by the Lord, I was in the bathroom or something. I did not get those particular gifts, I bring other things to the table like cuss words and yelling.
Now I read these words and realize my need for the Lord. He is the one that exposes these parts of me that are not like Christ, and asks me to let His power loose to change me. He says to me, “Sarah, you are not humble and gentle, but I AM. If you will deny yourself and seek Me, I can live through you and you will start to reflect humbleness and gentleness to others.” It takes me putting my own desires, my flesh, aside and choosing to live by the spirit. The next part of the passage is “be patient with each other.” Being patient comes after learning to be humble and gentle.
Patient, patient, patient. Maybe if I type it enough I will understand it. Here is what I do know. I am not patient. Unless you are using it in refer to someone being in a hospital. Then I am very much a “patient.” But something tells me that is not what God is talking about here. Do you know how I know I am not patient? Because my favorite word is “HURRY UP!” Here are some of my favorite ways to use this word grouping.
HURRY UP, GET IN THE CAR!
HURRY UP, AND TELL ME WHAT WE ARE DOING!
HURRY UP! WE ARE LATE!
HURRY UP AND MAKE THIS DECISION!
HURRY UP, COME ON, WE HAVE TO GO!
HURRY UP AND GET US A TABLE!
HURRY UP AND GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE!
So let me tell you something really funny. Guess what word my husband hates most in the world? You guessed it, “hurry.” This word is a cuss word in his book. Nothing makes him shut down faster than someone hurrying him. So as you can imagine this is a hot mess of me hurrying him and him freaking out on me to stop hurrying him. It goes really well. The more I walk with Jesus the more I see my hurried approach to life. The more I become brave enough to look at myself in light of who Jesus is, the more empowered I become to say, “Sarah, where are you going in such a hurry?”
If I hurry my husband, guess who else I hurry? Well, yes my kids, but I’m not talking about them. (I’m not ready to talk about the fact that both of my kids had stutters because they felt so rushed to get a thought out. Literally, the speech therapist said to me, “you have to slow down and look them in the face when they are trying to tell you something. Ouch.) I am talking about the fact that I hurry God. I am impatient with God. I say things like, “God, hurry up and change Jesse so we can get things done faster.” “God, hurry up and change me so I look like you.” Guess who is not in a hurry because time does not bother Him? That’s right God.
Pastor Doug defined patience as, “Gracious and loving waiting.” Ashley and I should probably not sit by each other in church because we both laughed so loud at this. Then Jesse looked over at me all smug and self-righteous and smiled at me. Jerk. Just kidding, I love him.
Gracious and loving waiting. Gracious and loving waiting. Gracious and loving waiting. Does anyone else read that definition and start to look for a paper bag to breath in? This is just one more way God is going to teach me to stop trying to be patient and to start trusting Him to change me into someone who reflects His patience. Yes it will hurt, yes it will be a challenge, yes I will try to do it in my own strength and fail. The thrill of hope is that what if I could become patient. What if I could be free of the frustration of a hurried life. What if I could stop hurrying the people I love. What if I could get off this hamster wheel that is “hurry?” What if I could look myself in the face and say, “Why are you in such a hurry anyway? Where are you trying to get to so fast?” Well my friends, that sounds like a glorious way of living to me. I love you Jesus, thank you for being humble and gentle, and thank you for promising to transform me into someone who relfects you.